Posted: 9:57 am Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
By Daniel Malloy, Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein
The same LGBT group that pressured Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to “evolve” on gay marriage has now set its sights on Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Nunn’s official position is that “the definition of marriage should be left to the states” and she has refused to take an official position on employment non-discrimination or the full repeal of DOMA.
If Michelle Nunn wants the support of the LGBT Community, she should join the other members of her party — around the nation and here in Georgia — and proudly stand in support of full LGBT Equality.
Charlie Stadtlander, who let us know about the reorientation, said Nunn’s other sins include a lack of support for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the acceptance of cash from a political action committee controlled by former U.S. senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican who helped formulate the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the 1990s – with Michelle Nunn’s father.
“We’re not going to give her a free pass in the LGBT community. We’re going to go after her,” Stadtlander said.
The reaction from Nunn spokesman Nathan Click:
“Michelle has said time and again that she believes that all Georgians should be allowed to share in marriage as she and her husband have done. She also believes that is not only a legal construct, but a sacrament, and every religious institution has to be able to define it for themselves. The reality is that Georgia voters have spoken on this issue — passing a constitutional ban on same sex marriage.
“Michelle voted against it, but Georgia voters came to a different conclusion. Now it’s up to the courts to decide whether amendments like this are constitutional. In the Senate, Michelle would continue to stand for the equality of all Georgians. She would oppose any law that does not respect the right of all people to marry and would vote to repeal any discriminatory federal laws that have not yet been struck down by the court. There is a big difference between her and David Perdue on this issue.”
Inconveniently for the Nunn campaign, U.S. Rep. John Lewis touched on the topic in a recent interview with the LGBT news outlet GA Voice. When asked whether the LGBT community should expect the top-of-the-ticket Democrats to be more vocal on its issues, Lewis replied that they should show more leadership — and their reticence is likely motivated by political calculation:
“I think if people feel strongly about an issue they have a moral obligation to speak up and speak out. On the other hand, I think they have to have what I call an “executive session” with themselves. Say “this is my position and this is where I’m going to stand” and be consistent and be persistent. And use their candidacy, use their presence to help educate. And it’s very difficult for people in this region, but leaders have to lead.
“I can understand the position that Michelle [Nunn] and Jason [Carter] may be in. I’ve heard ‘Let them get elected and they’ll be more effective and be able to do more and say more’ but I think there are many politicians in this region that are reluctant to say anything. I tell people all the time, ‘Go with your gut and it will work out.’ It’s amazing to me that in such a short few years, people have come so far. And they just need a little leadership really.
Republican U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue will participate in three debates with Democrat Michelle Nunn this fall, two fewer than Nunn requested. The three expected match-ups:
– Oct. 7 in Perry, broadcast by WMAZ;
– Oct. 26 in Atlanta, put on by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta Press Club;
– and Nov. 2 in Atlanta, broadcast by our corporate cousins at Channel 2 Action News.
“We’re planning to participate in three debates, which should be ample opportunity for voters to make their decision,” Perdue spokeswoman Megan Whittemore wrote in an email. “Right now, David is taking his message directly to the people of Georgia, and unlike his opponent, he has been very clear on where he stands on the issues.”
Several Republicans have noted that while Nunn was dodging debates in her primary – participating in only a single GPB forum – Perdue was regularly sparring with his Republican opponents. Whittemore counted more than a dozen debates. It felt like 40.
The Nunn camp, naturally, contends that Perdue is avoiding confrontation.
“No wonder David Perdue is twisting himself in knots to avoid engaging on the trail– he doesn’t want to have to explain his ‘real world’ record of shipping jobs overseas and leading companies that laid off thousands of workers,” Nunn spokesman Nathan Click wrote in an email. “He may be a fresh face, but he’s already shown that he would bring more of the same dysfunction and finger pointing Georgians are sick of from Washington.”
The Washington Post took a trip to Warner Robins to examine the Georgia Senate race, with a focus on Sam Nunn. Writes Colby Itkowitz, of the intertwined networks of father and daughter:
Now, the political network and legacy Sam Nunn built are turning into a line of defense for his daughter.
Among Michelle Nunn’s supporters are two former Republican U.S. senators, John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana, both close colleagues of her father’s. Her team of advisers includes several former Nunn allies from Washington. Bernard Aronson, who was assistant secretary of State in President George H. W. Bush’s administration, called the older Nunn “a close friend and a strategic thinker of the best sort.” He’s been advising his friend’s daughter on foreign policy.
At least 60 individual campaign contributions are from donors who once gave to her father, according to an analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
If you don’t think President Barack Obama’s cautious approach when it comes to the Islamic State is worrisome to fellow Democrats, consider U.S. Rep. David Scott’s Tuesday remarks on 106.7FM, after the second beheading of another captured American journalist:
“I’ve been urging the president to act. I want him to act. I have asked him to act, months ago…
“This beheading happened because we didn’t respond to the last one…The president is behind the eight-ball on this issue.”
Former DeKalb County school board member Nancy Jester is now running for the seat on the DeKalb County Commission vacated by Republican Elaine Boyer, who now faces jail time for misuse of taxpayer funds. From an email to supporters:
“Confidence in DeKalb government has been shattered. I’m a small government conservative. I also believe that the operations of government should be carried on with a vigorous commitment to competence and credibility. Right now, we have the worst of both worlds; bloated government that has shown to be incompetent and corrupt.”
Jester, of Dunwoody, who fell short in the GOP primary race for state school superintendent this year, proposes to reduce costs on the commission and to hold regular community meetings over coffee. She also proposes this new idea, in the wake of the scandals involving how commissioners use their purchasing cards:
“Of particular importance to me is the need for real-time financial disclosure of government agencies and offices. Other states have implemented on-line check registers that show how your tax dollars are being spent on a daily basis.
“If I were a DeKalb County Commissioner, I would institute an on-line check register for my office. Had this been in place, it would have been difficult, because of the immediate disclosure, for a commissioner to abuse their p-card by paying for personal expenses. It would also have provided an uncomfortable spotlight on the consulting fee/kick-back scheme as it was happening.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is out with another ad attacking Republican Rick Allen in the 12th Congressional District. It follows a theme we’ve seen from the Michelle Nunn campaign of deploying a female narrator to make the case.
The ad uses some of the same attacks from a prior ad on Allen making money off of “higher taxes” and having projects go “over budget” that were dinged by factcheck.org for lacking the proper context. (The higher taxes were agreed to by residents as a SPLOST, and Allen’s projects were over budget by a small percentage.)
It also shows you what kind of district the 12th is, when the messages from national Democrats are all about being stingy with taxpayer dollars.
WSB Radio’s Sandra Parrish caught up with Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway for more reaction to U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s proposed legislation to make it harder for civilian law enforcement authorities to obtain military hardware. Listen here:
“Like anything else, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. And I think that’s what the congressman is trying to do with his bill…
“The biggest thing we have is an LAV, an armored personnel carrier. It’s not equipped with any type of offensive weapon. It’s just a bullet-proof vehicle that the SWAT members can get into, to get into close proximity of a house or location…
“It’s a pretty big piece of equipment. Once it’s in somebody’s yard, they understand that we’re serious and we’re not going away. Usually that’s enough to make somebody give up their weapons….”
Libertarian Andrew Hunt, the party’s candidate for governor, unveiled his new ad today that tried to make the case that voters are losing interest in Democratic and Republican policies.
Don’t expect to see the ad plastered on the airwaves. The party said it hoped to roll out in the spot in “select markets” and on social media campaigns.
“The recent 19 percent voter turnout in the state primary indicates voters have lost interest in the stale two party system and they refuse to give away their votes,” said Doug Craig, the party’s chairman. “There is no need for voters to feel disenfranchised. The Libertarian Party wants their vote.”
Back in the day, Chuck Searcy was well-known figure in Georgia politics – a Vietnam protester on the University of Georgia campus, co-founder of an alternative newspaper in Athens, a Small Business Administration bureaucrat during the Jimmy Carter administration, and executive director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Here’s where he is now:
About the Authors
Daniel Malloy is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state since 2011. He's a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Jim Galloway has spent 35 years covering politics and other shenanigans for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.